Technology

Tech industry group cites inflation in ad slamming antitrust bill

A group representing the nation’s largest tech companies is rolling out a seven-figure TV ad campaign slamming a key antitrust proposal that seeks to curb tech giants’ power, warning it could raise already soaring prices on consumers.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) — which represents companies such as Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook — released a 30-second ad Monday as part of its “Don’t Break What Works” campaign. The ad offers a new line of attack by focusing on inflation and arguing that proposed legislation would further raise prices for Americans.

The bill the ad targets is the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, according to a copy of the ad first shared with The Hill. The legislation aims to block tech giants from giving preferential treatment to their own products and services. In practice, it could bar Amazon from placing its own products at the top of search results on its site or prevent Google from highlighting its own services. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill with bipartisan support in January, while a House version advanced out of committee last June.

The bill would effectively target Amazon, Apple, Facebook-parent Meta and Google, based on the definition of a covered platform. All four companies are members of the CCIA. 

The CCIA’s “Don’t Break What Works” campaign paints the bill as an effort that would disband services users enjoy, such as Amazon’s Prime program. 

Proponents of the bill have said the argument from tech companies and their lobbying groups is false and that those services would not be taken away by the legislation. Meanwhile, supporters say the bill would help consumers, as well as smaller companies or third-party sellers, by reining in tech giants’ ability to discriminate against rival products on their platforms. 

The latest ad expands on CCIA’s argument against the bill with a hook around the rising costs to consumers due to record inflation rates. 

“Americans are feeling the squeeze of record inflation every day. We are urging Congress to avoid making it worse by breaking products that American consumers love,” Chandler Smith, a spokesperson for the group’s campaign, said in a statement. 

The ad will begin running in Washington, D.C., on Monday and will expand to other states.

The proposal has gained bipartisan support in the House and Senate, and has the support of the Biden administration.

Still, it faces a rocky road ahead, with opposition from both parties. Among Democrats, some of the fiercest opposition has been posed by California lawmakers who represent the home state of many of the tech giants.

Tags American Innovation and Choice Online Act antitrust legislation tech giants
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